Sauce Pots with Various Designs

  • Kyoto
  • Edo period
  • 18-19c
  • Kenzan ware, underglaze iron and blue decoration
  • H-6.6 D-8
    Formerly in the collection of Inoue Kaoru
Catalogue Entry

Set of 10 pitchers
Edo period, 18th to 19th centuries
Kenzan ware, underglaze iron and blue decoration
Height, 6.6cm; torso diameter, 8.1cm;
foot diameter, 4.5cm

These pitchers are a set of small-scale noodle broth pitchers. The box inscription on the exter-ior of the box lid states that these are "Kenzanyaki karamitsugi" while the inscription on the side of the box states "Kenzan yaki sobakiriyo, karamiire," thus indicating that these were likely used as broth-pitchers for the broth eaten with soba noodles. One section of each pitcher and its lid has been coated with a white slip, and then a variety of patterns were painted in underglaze iron and underglaze blue. In some cases, a scraping technique has been used to express the details of the motifs rendered in underglaze pigments, and finally, with the exception of the bottom of the foot, the entire pitcher and lid was coated with a transparent glaze.

While this is a set of 10 pitchers, there is 1 pitcher and lid that clearly differs from the others in terms of vessel shape, clay, and firing finish, and it is likely a later replacement piece. The remaining nine pitchers share basically the same construction and can be seen as part of the original set. However, one of these nine shows an awkward motif transition between body and lid, and the diameter of its lid is too large and does not fit the body properly. Hence, this is probably a case where a lid from one body was paired with a different body.

With the exception of the 1 pitcher that is probably a later replacement, 8 of the remaining nine pitchers are signed "Kenzan" in underglaze iron on the lower part of the torso. Differences, however, can be noted between the calligraphy of these signatures, and it is likely that they were written by a number of potters. Undoubtedly, this is a later Kenzan ware example and does not date back to the Narutaki kiln period. YO